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William Lloyd

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William Lloyd (1822-1905) Civil engineer.

Born October 1822, was a British railway engineer who was instrumental in the construction of several railways in the Americas.

William Lloyd started his engineering career while serving five years pupilage to Joseph Gibbs. He was given this position by Gibbs to make a survey of ironworks at Marquise in France and to lay out a railway line to the port of Ambleteuse. After completing this line he was given the post of Resident Engineer on a section of the French Northern Railway. He returned to England in 1844 where he worked on various rail projects for eight years under Mr George Stephenson and George Parker Bidder.

In 1853 he was employed by the Swedish Government Railways to undertake surveys and was elected a member of the Institute of Civil Engineers on 7 March 1854

In 1863, on the recommendation of Robert Stephenson, Lloyd was appointed engineer to the government of Chile to carry out construction of railways in Chile and Peru, including the Santiago to Valparaiso line. An account of this construction was presented to the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1864 and he was awarded a Telford medal and premium for this.

When the Chilean Railway was completed in 1864, William Lloyd was appointed Director for the construction of a Mexican railway. The line was to be 300 miles long starting from Mexico City and finishing in Veracruz and featured a gradient of 1:25 for some 23 miles. Most of the line was completed until the Mexican Revolution stopped further work.

Lloyd went on to complete projects in Argentina and Guatemala as well as undertaking an extensive exploration and survey for the Brazilian Government. This project was 1,000 miles in length from Curitibe to Matto Grosso, going through unknown and dense primeval forest. A copy of this report and survey is also in the Library of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

In 1881 Lloyd became Director of the Valparaiso Drainage Company, completing many works within the city. An Anglican church constructed in 1858 called Inglesia Anglicana San Pablo which stands on the Cerro Concepcion, was built by William Lloyd, this church was made a national monument in 1979.

In 1888, Lloyd went to California and Arizona reporting on the mines in these states.

He returned home in st Johns Wood, London where he died on 15 July 1905 at the age of 82.

He wrote a book titled 'A railway pioneer: Notes by a civil engineer in Europe and America from 1838 to 1888'. This is available online[1]


1906 Obituary [2]

WILLIAM LLOYD was born on the 12th October, 1822, and after being privately educated, served a pupilage of 5 years to the late Mr. Joseph Gibbs.

On completing his articles in 1842 he was deputed by Mr. Gibbs to make a survey of ironworks at Marquise in France, and to lay out a line thence to the port of Ambleteuse, having completed which he obtained a post as Resident Engineer on a section of the Great Northern Railway of France, then in course of construction.

Returning to England in 1844, he was actively engaged during the next 8 years, chiefly under Mr. George Robert Stephenson and Mr. George Parker Bidder, upon the survey and construction of some of the many railway lines then in process of execution in all parts of the country.

In 1853 he took part in the surveys for the Swedish Government Railways, and in the following year, on the recommendation of Mr. Robert Stephenson, he was appointed Engineer to the Chilian Government, to carry out railways in that country. During the next 10 years he was engaged on the location and construction of railways and other public works for Chili and Peru, including the Santiago and Valparaiso line, for an account of which, presented to the Institution in 1864, he was awarded a Telford medal and premium.

Upon the completion of the Chilian Railways in 1864, he was appointed Director for the execution of the Mexican Railway, 300 miles in length, between Vera Cruz and Mexico, a line presenting, amongst other unusual features, a gradient of 1 in 25 twenty-three miles in length. He built the greater part of this line before the Revolution arrested the works.

After interesting himself in projects for the construction of railways in Argentina and Guatemala, he next undertook, as one of the concessionaires, an extensive exploration and railway survey for the Brazilian Government, extending from Curitiba to Matto Grosso, a distance of 1,000 miles, traversing for the mast part almost unknown and dense primeval forest. A copy of his Report on this survey is in the Library of the Institution.

In 1881, as Director of the Valparaiso Drainage Company, he successfully completed the works in that city; and in 1888 he visited California and Arizona to report on mines in those States, after which he retired from the active pursuit of the profession.

He died at his home in St. John’s Wood on the 15th July, 1905, at the advanced age of 82.

Mr. Lloyd was elected a Member of the Institution on the 7th March, 1854. His name had thus been borne on the Roll upwards of 50 years.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. [1] 'A railway pioneer: Notes by a civil engineer in Europe and America from 1838 to 1888', by W. Lloyd: Printed by Baines and Scarsbrook, London, 1900.
  2. 1906 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries